Word of the Day

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

dissemble

[ dih-sem-buhl ]

verb

to conceal one's true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically.

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What is the origin of dissemble?

Dissemble comes from late Middle English dissemile, dissimill, an alteration of the verb dissimule (from Old French dissimuler “to keep one’s intentions hidden,” from Latin dissimulāre, “to disguise or conceal one’s thoughts”), and associated in form with the noun semblance and the obsolete verb semble (from Old French sembler, from Latin similāre and simulāre “to pretend”). Dissemble entered English in the sense “to pass over, ignore, neglect” in the 16th century.

how is dissemble used?

He counted heavily on his ability to dissemble, knowing that every decent lawyer had at least several drops of dissimulation in his blood.

Elizabeth George, Missing Joseph, 1993

I didn’t know how to dissemble, I quite openly acknowledged the mistakes I made, and didn’t try hard to hide them.

Johann Michael von Loën, The Honest Man at Court, 1748, translated by John R. Russell, 1997
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Tuesday, November 06, 2018

dopester

[ dohp-ster ]

noun

a person who undertakes to predict the outcome of elections, sports events, or other contests that hold the public interest.

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What is the origin of dopester?

The dope at the heart of this Americanism refers to information, data, or news. This slang term dates to 1905–10.

how is dopester used?

The 1954 season for predicting the Congressional elections is now in full swing and the political dopesters will be hard at it from now until Nov. 2, when the voters will select more than one-third of the Senators and all of the Congressmen who will sit in the Eighty-fourth Congress.

Ruth Silva, "A Look Into a Crystal Election Ball," New York Times, October 10, 1954

We make no prediction, not being either a dopester or an expert.

Ernest C. Hastings, "Stock the Goods That Women Want," Dry Goods Economist, October 21, 1922
Monday, November 05, 2018

bewhiskered

[ bih-hwis-kerd, -wis- ]

adjective

ancient, as a witticism, expression, etc.; passé; hoary: a bewhiskered catchword of a bygone era.

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What is the origin of bewhiskered?

Bewhiskered is first recorded in 1755–65. It combines be-, a prefix used in the formation of verbs, with whiskered.

how is bewhiskered used?

That bewhiskered saying that “pride goeth before a fall” is true only in the case of ignorant people, says The International Lifeman.

, "Stick Up Your Chin," The Spectator: Life Insurance Supplement, January 7, 1915

Good things come in small packages. … This wrinkled and bewhiskered expression haunts our editorial vision when we pause to contemplate the career of a life, progressive citizen of the gopher state, a man small in stature but big in brain.

, "Sidelights on Men in the Trade," Domestice Engineering, October 3, 1914

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